by Lillian Csernica on April 5, 2022
EMBRACING MY INNER FOOL
Once a person reaches Self-realization, they are freed from their own desires and worldly attachments. They’re also liberated from external pressures, such as cultural and social expectations, or political and economic influences. They are beyond self-delusion and material attachments. — Yogapedia
If my life has taught me anything, it has taught me that I’m a fool. The older I get, the more convinced of this I become. (After all, the evidence just keeps piling up.) It’s amazing how bone-deep that foolishness can run. Of the many different ways my foolishness has manifested itself, a few examples stand out:
I have insomnia, so I exist in a state of perpetual sleep deprivation. That goes a long way toward explaining the bizarre things that can happen to me first thing in the morning. One day I put the box of cereal in the refrigerator, then tried to put the carton of orange juice in the full kitchen cupboard. Took me a minute to figure out why it wouldn’t fit. I’m so glad I didn’t try to lay the open orange juice carton on its side.
Another fine example of getting my wires crossed occurred the day my son John was about to go out for the afternoon with his aide, a young man named Dario. I was running around doing too much at once, my feet and my mouth moving too fast for my brain to keep up. That resulted in me handing John the money for gas and incidentals and then leaning over to kiss Dario goodbye. Perspective kicked in just before I crossed the line concerning Dario’s personal space. We both shied back with a yelp. I apologized profusely. By then Dario had been working for us long enough to know what a goofball I can be, so he laughed it off.
Early in my marriage my software engineer husband decided to take advantage of my trusting nature. We were out shopping for groceries. In the produce section, I was picking out items I needed for a particular recipe, concentrating on the list of ingredients. Suddenly my husband called out, “Put down those mushrooms! They’re covered with fungus!” I jumped and dropped the one I was holding. Only then did the truth hit me. A mushroom is a fungus. My husband has pulled that kind of thing on me more than a few times over the years. I’ve learned to watch out his “Mr. Wizard” voice.
Once in a while one of the worst symptoms of my Inner Foolishness will manifest itself in the form of me concocting some elaborate plan. This symptom usually comes out in one of two forms. One, I plot some elaborate payback scheme against somebody who has given me grief so intense it brings out my misguided Machiavellian urges. Two, I get caught up in somebody else’s drama and allow myself to be carried along in the wake of their personal upheaval.
My most memorable Machiavellian moment came back in the days when I was working at the Northern Renaissance Faire. I’d discovered a woman whom I believed to be my friend had in fact been conducting a campaign of deceit and character assassination behind my back. What she did not take into account was all the conversations we’d had that involved the exchange of personal hopes, dreams, likes, and dislikes. In trying so hard to pretend she was my friend, she had given me all the ammunition I needed to expose her vital emotional organs to the mockery of our entire Faire community. I got quite carried away with plotting her total destruction.
Did I go through with it?
I did not.
I could say my better nature won out, compassion triumphed over vengeance, etc. etc. The truth is, I just knew something would go wrong and it would all backfire on me. Also, I did realize it was a colossal waste of time and energy, a backhanded compliment to a who’d proven she was no longer worth that kind of effort. Karma would catch up with her. (The funny thing is, it did, about a year later. Stay tuned for K Day!)
The finest example of me letting myself get caught up in somebody else’s drama was also related to people from Ren Faire. I knew a woman who had some serious issues rooted in how her mother had raised her. All this baggage prompted her to redesign her own identity with an eye to becoming the person she really wanted to be. Self-actualization is a good thing, right? Not when it’s an excuse for shaking down everybody who cared about her in some strange effort to be compensated for what she felt her mother failed to provide. This person decided to change from being a Water sign to a Fire sign and switch everything in her life over to this new state of being. I’ve done a lot of reading about matters metaphysical. While I’m certainly no expert, I’m not sure this sort of thing is even possible. Just deciding to adopt a new birthdate and rising sign doesn’t make the planets line up differently on your natal chart. As far as what the Recording Angel might have to say about it, who knows?
I’m old enough now to know better about this kind of situation, but at the time I found it fascinating. When this person invited me to attend the wake for her Old Self and the Re-Birthing Ritual for her New Self, I accepted both invitations. I was hoping to witness genuine personal transformation. I ended up being a participant in two carefully orchestrated exercises in narcissism. The true dimensions of her commitment to a higher state of being were revealed after the Re-Birth Ritual. This woman got all bent out of shape because no one brought her a cake and presents. Where did my Inner Fool come into play? By allowing myself to be part of the audience this woman so desperately craved. In doing so I encouraged her ridiculous and self-destructive behavior.
It’s a great relief to realize your own foolishness. It frees you from the burden of maintaining a facade of sophistication and worldly know-how. If you embrace your Inner Fool, expectations fall away, agendas crumble, and you’re free to just roll on through life without the constant fear of looking stupid. You know that sooner or later you will. That confidence brings with it a certain relaxation envied by those people still ruled by their need to look cool.